SAP Center in San Jose, CA was one of the lucky recipients of a Paul McCartney show, coming through on his “Freshen Up” tour. It’s a safe bet to assume that pretty much everyone knows who McCartney is at this point… and if that rock you’ve been living under has been comfortable for the last almost 60 years: he was one of The Beatles.
At the packed arena, fans filed in with enthusiasm to see one fo their all-time songwriting heroes. Screens on the side of the stage scrolled through creative colorful art montages depicting John Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and of course McCartney. Then the night began.
All photos by Clay Lancaster.
The band launched immediately into the Beatle’s classic “A Hard Day’s Night”, and was a treat to behold. McCartney’s setlist throughout the evening was evenly paced and evenly chosen, as he performed his solo material along with Beatles and Wings tunes.
McCartney also chatted quite a bit with the crowd. Giving some back story to songs and experiences that involved Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, and John Lennon. With such an important and storied career, hearing these anecdotes was more than welcome.
At one point, Paul took a moment to read many of the homemade signs that fans at brought into the arena, and shared them with the audience… including one that supposedly said “Sign My Butt”, to which his response was a pause and then “…Well let’s have a look, then.” That may or may not have been a real sign, or perhaps just a funny joke he threw into the mix. Regardless, the crowd roared with laughter.
He also took moments to play his own song “Here Today”, and a ukulele-tinged version of “Sometimes”, which were tributes to Lennon and Harrison respectively.
Other highlights of the night included the band stripping down to a smaller format and performing “Love Me Do”, as well as “In Spite of All the Danger” (the first “Beatles” song ever recorded, when they were called The Quarrymen).
The rest of the almost 40-song set was largely filled with Beatles’ classics, “Golden Slumbers” and “Helter Skelter” being two favorites.
McCartney’s voice was strong and those famous howls were absolutely present. It was easy to forget that he’d recently turned 77 years old.
If you’re a Beatles fan, absolutely consider picking up a ticket for one of the remaining tour dates. The entire evening was a joy to watch.
Below are a few more photos from the night: